A decade into the 21st century, traditional notions of theatre itself in America are being challenged and redefined. We will ensure that our program continues to preserve Deaf theatre traditions as long as we remain part of the academic and cultural fabrics at Gallaudet, the only liberal arts university for Deaf and hard of hearing people, but there needs to be a fearlessness and willingness to experiment with, and improve upon, the same traditions originating in the previous century so 21st century American Deaf theatre can evolve as an idea in its own right.
It is incumbent upon our program, and Gallaudet University, to cultivate the next generation of Deaf theatre artists, creative thinkers, and their allies in order to bring this about, to transform this idea into an institution.
What is exactly the value of a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Gallaudet University in the 21st century? What are its expectations, its advantages? Who are our students' role models? How consistently are our students being empowered? Are they being properly prepared for professional life post-graduation?
These are the questions guiding our direction, and we visualize a student-centered hybrid program where our liberal arts curriculum is fused with a conservatory approach as well as a marked emphasis on professional theatre training. Where better to do so than the fast-growing theatre hotbed of Washington, DC, our city?
We firmly believe Gallaudet should be the best-not default-choice of Deaf students seeking a proactive, accessible, quality university theatre education which prepares them well for the realities of a working professional theatre field dominated by hearing people who have little or no exposure to--and consequently, little or no experience working with--Deaf people. Our students need every single competitive advantage they can get.